Coconut oil has been all the rage for quite some time amongst plant-based bloggers as a great alternative to butter or shortening. I avoided using it for quite some time for two reasons.
Firstly, it’s not readily accessible in my neck of the woods and takes a little hunting around to find. Secondly, the price.
It’s hard to justify spending any money on oil when we get all the extra-virgin olive oil we want from the family groves in western Spain. I try to use olive oil for everything and I have made a successful pie crust with olive oil for my vegan tourtiere.
I was curious as to how vegans make their pie crust in Spain so I goggled vegan pie crust in Spanish and found that most recipes here also recommend using olive oil.
A few (shockingly) used margarine and after reading through the comments many people questioned (rightly so) the ethics of using a palm oil product.
Furthermore, there’s no guarantee that supermarket margarine is vegan due to the lack of information on the provenance of the emulsifiers and added vitamins.
While a few people asked if coconut oil could replace the margarine, I was hard pressed to find an actual recipe in Spanish for coconut oil pie crust. Clearly there’s a need to be filled!
You may be wondering why on earth there’s vodka in my pie crust.
I’ve used vodka in my pie crusts ever since my mother gave me the now famous Cook’s Illustrated recipe which explained the science behind getting a super flaky crust with vodka. If you’re curious you can google it, but in a nutshell it reduces the formation of gluten and makes the dough easier to roll out, resulting in a flakier crust.
The alcohol evaporates during baking so it doesn’t have a weird taste. However, the vodka totally optional and this dough will work fine if you don’t want to add it. Just replace it with water and be careful not to overwork the dough.
Makes one single pie crust. Double the measurements for a double crust.
- 1 1/2 cups (200 grams) flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (135 grams) coconut oil, solid at room temperature *(see note below)
- 2 tablespoons chilled vodka (optional)
- 2 tablespoons cold water (or 4 tablespoons if not using vodka)
- Mix together the flour and salt and put in the fridge along with a fork or pastry cutter for 30 minutes or in the freezer for 15 minutes.
- Once chilled, add one tablespoon of coconut oil and cut it into the flour until there are no large chunks. Continue adding the remaining coconut oil this way one tablespoon at a time. Your mixture should look like course meal or course sand without any large chunks of coconut oil.
- Combine the vodka and the water and sprinkle one tablespoon over the dough. Gently mix to combine before adding a second tablespoon. Continue mixing and adding liquid until the dough starts to stick together and you can press it into a ball. You might not need all the liquid, or you might need more, depending what brand of flour you’re using.
- To prevent the dough from sticking to the counter, I like to cover the counter with plastic wrap. Place your dough ball on the plastic wrap and knead it a couple of times to incorporate all the loose crumbs. Roll it out to the size of your pie plate then slide your hands under the plastic wrap and flip it into your pie plate. Press it down into the plate, cut off any overhang, flute the edges and prick the bottom with a fork.
- You can use this pie crust as your recipe calls for - prebaked or not.
Note: Coconut oil is solid at room temperature up to 24 C / 74 F. If your kitchen is too hot, pour the coconut oil into a ziplock bag and freeze it overnight. Use a grater to grate the frozen oil into your flour. I recommend wrapping a towel around it while you grate so that the heat from your hand doesn’t melt it.